By Lauren Jow
Originally published on Advocate.com August 13 2012 10:50 AM ET
For two years, Cassandra Lynn and her friends have held ladies' night out at their favorite haunt. On Friday nights, the women meet up for drinks at P-Club Bar and Grill in north Portland, Ore.
But their longtime hangout spot has cast them out through a voice mail Lynn received from the bar’s owner saying she and her friends couldn’t come there anymore because they are transgender.
“Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I'm going to have to ask for you, Cass and your group, not to come back on Friday nights," owner Chris Penner says in the voice mail, which Lynn and her friend Victoria Nolan played during an interview with Fox 12.
“People think that (a) we're a tranny bar, or (b) that we're a gay bar. We are neither. People are not coming in because they just don't want to be here on a Friday night now," Penner adds.
Penner is now under investigation by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries after Lynn filed a discrimination complaint against him last month.
Before the voice mail came out, Penner had told Fox 12 that the accusations didn’t make sense and that anyone who was respectful was welcome in the bar.
But when Fox asked to interview Penner again on Thursday, this time about the voice mail, he declined after talking to his lawyer.
The women said they never ran into any trouble from the bar before, and they dispute Penner’s claim that their presence was hurting business.
“I've been there since day one," Lynn said. "And there were no more people in that bar on the first Friday we were there as the last Friday we were there."
For now, Lynn and her friends are over their old hangout spot and are just looking for fair treatment.
“We just feel that if we go into a business, we shouldn't be asked to leave just because we dress different,” she said.